Over the years the Barbie conglomerate has been under pressure to create dolls reflecting more cultural diversity. For decades, diversity in Barbie dolls had been limited to clothing, hair colour, and complexion, while the dolls' facial features remained the same. The general thought on the matter was that Mattel, Barbie's manufacturer, was reluctant to confront racial diversity head on. That notion was dispelled when the Dolls of the World Collection
was released, featuring a wide array of ethnicities, reflected both in costume and the doll itself. Finally ethnicity was no longer restrained by the very European features of the standard issue doll.
It is, therefore, disappointing that the newest addition to the Barbie line, Inuit Legend Barbie
, shows a return to those European features and lacks the authentic costumes of some of its multicultural counterparts. Designed by Christy Marcus, a fashion student at Ryerson, the Canadian exclusive doll features a white dress, trimmed in fur, with an Inuit print inspired overskirt. The doll's dark hair is just below shoulder length, parted to the side and braided. Underneath her long skirts, the doll is wearing white pumps.
The idea of an Inuit Barbie was excellent and it is unfortunate that Marcus, who designed the doll as an homage to her Inuk grandmother
, fell so far from the mark. One can only assume that layers of caribou hide trousers, a pair of seal skin kamiks, mittens, and a hooded parka with a pouch on the back for an infant, while traditionally accurate, would not have oozed the sex appeal necessary to make the Barbie cut.
Even in Canada's frozen North, sex appeal is still Barbie's primary concern above all else.